The Number 1 Thing to do Before Buying an Annual Membership

The Number 1 Thing to do Before Buying an Annual Membership

- in Finance, Parenting

About a week ago, my friend invited the twins and me on a visit to an amazing museum in Cleveland. Given that it was a holiday, I asked her if admission was free and she said “no.” I have wanted to visit this place for a while but never had the chance to do it. So, I thought this day would be the day we would just go. However, I looked at the admissions cost and did the math to see how much it would be for 3 people. Then, I realized that at this particular time, it was outside of my budget.

I asked my friend how she likes the museum (I was attempting to live vicariously through her experiences with her son) and she said she loves it and takes her son all of the time because they have a membership. Next thing you know, we began discussing the memberships that we have and why we chose them.

I share this with you because there are so many amazing places in Cleveland and so many memberships to choose from. However, I want to help you to think about how to go about choosing the annual memberships you buy so you can maximize your investment (because an annual membership is essentially a 1-year investment). Therefore, here is the number one thing to do before buying a new membership:

Determine your break-even point

This is the finance in me coming out. The concept of break-even is frequently used in business, finance and economics, and refers to the point at which the total revenue equals the total cost. (Side note: ever since I learned the concept of break-even in business school, I apply it to so many areas of my life.)

In the case of an annual membership, look at it this way: The break-even point is the point in which the cost of your membership equals the number of times you would have to go in order to pay for your membership.  

For example, if your annual membership costs $100 and you have 3 people in your family, and the cost per person per visit is $15/per person, then it would take 2.22 visits for the membership to pay for itself. In this case, I would round up to 3 visits for the break-even point.

The reason why this concept is so important is that it helps you to avoid wasting your money by buying memberships that you don’t need.

My rule of thumb is that I must break-even in three or fewer visits. I do this because I’m trying to make sure I’m realistic about what I can and cannot do. I figure that if I really like the place, then I will at least go three times, but I recognize that life happens, schedules change, and new things may peak my twins and my interests.  

Therefore, if it takes more than three visits for the membership to pay for itself, then I pass on it, because I know that it increases the likelihood that I won’t break-even. In that case, I just pay as I go. Then if I find that I go often, I consider a membership for the following year, because I limit the number of memberships I purchase in one year.

We are approaching spring, which means summer is around the corner, so I know that many of you will start to consider your membership purchases for the summer. I hope that this post helps you to plan out your membership purchases and save more money by better aligning your purchases with what you will realistically be able to do.

Please leave a comment to let me know how this helps you!

About the author

Aisha Taylor is a single mother of twins who helps corporate moms create the financial foundations to support turning their idea to income so they can exit their full-time job, walk in purpose, and spend more time with their children. Aisha has been featured in Black Enterprise, Jet Magazine, ESSENCE, Go Banking Rates, and The Detroit Free Press. To connect with Aisha, visit or email [email protected].

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